The Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology centre in Birmingham is officially world class after achieving prestigious international recognition.
The West Midlands Allergy and Immunology service at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust – in partnership with the Regional Severe Asthma Service, the Occupational Asthma Service and the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and School of Pharmacy at the University of Birmingham – has been designated as a World Allergy Organization (WAO) Centre of Excellence.
The honour is a result of a successful bid on behalf of Birmingham Health Partners – a strategic alliance between UHB, UoB and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals. The bid was led by UHB Consultant and Professor Mamidipudi Thirumala Krishna.
The service was invited to apply in October 2019 and was recently given the fantastic news that it had been successful. That followed a rigorous vetting process which covered all aspects including the clinical service, research, education and training, and advocacy.
There are only two other similar Centres of Excellence in the UK, and only about 48 worldwide.
Professor Krishna said: “It really is the culmination of all we have developed at UHB and University over two decades. So many people have contributed to the evolution of these services and it is indeed a great testament to all their hard work, commitment, knowledge and skills.
“This recognition is important in many ways. What it means is that have we met a benchmark which says we are a world class centre when it comes to clinical services, undergraduate and postgraduate education and training, or whether it is to do with research or how we work well collaboratively in the country and with countries outside UK.”
The award also opens up doors for the future development of services.
Professor Krishna added: “It is a great honour for our centre to receive this prestigious award and the recognition it brings will help us in the future by putting us on the world map as a centre of excellence and going on to the next level.”
Head of the Allergy and Immunology service at UHB Dr Aarnoud Huissoon said: “It’s a great way to crown our 50th anniversary as an NHS service. I am so pleased for our team and our patients that the excellent clinical work and research that has been built up in Birmingham over the past 50 years had been recognised by the WAO.
“Such research is increasingly taking a global perspective, and the endorsement of a prestigious global organisation such as the WAO is real honour.”
Professor David Wraith, Director of the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Birmingham, said: “Building on a 50-year history of world-leading research in immunology and an outstanding clinical research infrastructure in Birmingham, the Centre of Excellence in Allergy, led by Professor Krishna, creates the foundation for ever stronger collaboration and success in both fundamental research and delivery of novel approaches for control and treatment of allergies.”
Professor John Marriott, Head of the Pharmacy School and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, said: "The Centre of Excellence in Allergy, brought together through the vision of Professor Krishna, is an excellent initiative involving close collaboration between clinicians, bench scientists and data researchers who are working together to provide solutions to clinical issues of global significance."
Professor Adel Mansur leads the Regional Severe Asthma Service and Dr Gareth Walters leads the Occupational Asthma Service. Professor Mansur said: “We are delighted and honoured to be part of this prestigious award by the WAO. This is culmination of ambition, drive and tireless work of all members of each of our teams underpinned by close partnership and shared common vision.”
Dr Gareth Walters, Clinical Lead, Regional NHS Occupational Lung Disease Service, Birmingham Chest Clinic, said: “As part of the team from Birmingham, we are very proud to be awarded the status of a WAO Centre of Excellence. It is a real pleasure to share this honour with colleagues who demonstrate excellence in clinical practice, research and education. We look forward to collaborating closely on future projects.”
Professor David Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Head of College of Medical and Dental Sciences and Director of Birmingham Health Partners, added: “This impactful joint initiative across two founding members of BHP is an example of the mutual benefits of being part of a cluster of leading health and life sciences organisations.
“Thanks to our long-established history of collaborative working, we can enable research findings to be quickly adopted into clinical practice and that’s precisely what the West Midlands Allergy and Immunology Centre has rightly been recognised for through this award.”